See below for I&R/A news and updates.
I&R Support Center announces the award winners for the Disaster and Emergency Preparedness and Response Promising Practices Contest
ADvancing States’ National Information and Referral Support Center is pleased to announce the award winners for the Disaster and Emergency Preparedness and Response: Contest to Identify Promising Practices in Aging and Disability I&R/A Programs. The I&R Support Center launched this contest in March of this year to identify and disseminate promising practices that can help strengthen current and future disaster readiness and response within the Information & Referral/Assistance (I&R/A) field. Throughout the pandemic and a wide range of disaster and emergency situations, I&R/A programs have played a vital role in connecting individuals, caregivers, and families to needed services and resources
- Atlantis Community, Inc. (https://atlantiscommunity.org/), a Center for Independent Living based in Denver, Colorado that serves a seven-county catchment area, was selected for the first place award. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlantis’ I&R/A program has been an anchor point for responding to the needs of community members, engaging with new and existing community partners, and fostering development of new programs in areas such as technology access, vaccine information, and emergency transition services. These efforts have benefited the organization and community, strengthening partnerships, generating trust, improving the skills of I&R/A staff, extending service capacity, and prompting greater focus on disaster preparedness.
- The Aging and Disability Resource Center - Hawai'i Island (https://www.hcoahawaii.org/) was selected for the second place award. Responding to the pandemic, the ADRC team developed and implemented a Person-Centered Emergency Planning Program that includes training, an individualized Emergency Planning Workbook and support in completing this workbook, and items to start personalized emergency kits. I&R/A staff have been instrumental in the success of the program, and the program itself can ease stress on the I&R/A program by fostering greater emergency preparedness in the community and strengthening connections to community resources and natural supports through the person-centered planning process.
- The Independent Living Center of Kern County (https://ilcofkerncounty.org/) and Disability Services & Legal Center (http://mydslc.org/), two Centers for Independent Living serving communities in California, were both selected for third place awards for Disability Disaster Access & Resources, a program of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers that is administered by participating CILs across the state. This program assists individuals with disabilities and older adults with access and functional needs during emergencies, such as Public Safety Power Shutoffs. I&R/A services provide important access and outreach connections to the program.
- Area Agency on Aging, Region One (https://www.aaaphx.org/), serving residents of Maricopa County, Arizona, was selected for a special honorable mention for the role of its Senior HELP LINE Information and Assistance program, which has served as the nexus of the agency’s COVID-19 pandemic response and the access point for critical pandemic response programs.
Issue Brief Examines Key I&R/A Technology Developments
The National Information & Referral Support Center is pleased to share the release of the issue brief A New Standard of Innovation: Findings from the I&R/A Technology Survey. This issue brief summarizes and shares quantitative and qualitative findings from the Aging and Disability Information and Referral/Assistance Technology Short Survey to inform understanding of key technology developments and highlight approaches that may be useful in the current situation or in future disaster situations. This survey, administered by ADvancing States’ I&R Support Center in 2021, gathered data in several key areas including service modality and call volume; social media; the resource database; Information Technology systems; remote work; and new technologies for staff and client engagement.
Older Americans Act 101 Training Course Now Available on ADvancing States IQ
A new training course is available on ADvancing States IQ for aging and disability professionals - Older Americans Act 101: The Foundation of the Aging Services Network. This training course provides participants with an overview of key issues relevant to the Older Americans Act (OAA), a seminal piece of legislation that underpins the Aging Services Network and authorizes critical programs that support older adults. This course discusses the historical development, functions, and governance of the Act, its service programs, populations served, and funding. Older Americans Act 101 is aimed toward new, as well as seasoned, professional staff in the field of aging who would like a better understanding of the OAA. This new course is designed to help participants: Improve knowledge of key features, terminology, and concepts underlying the OAA; Expand understanding of OAA services and programs; Understand the administration and funding mechanisms of the OAA; and Increase ability to converse about basic OAA topics.
This course is free and available to all users on ADvancing States IQ. To access the course, log in to ADvancing States IQ and search for the course Older Americans Act 101: The Foundation of the Aging Services Network (available under the course category Community Integration).
Training Course Available on State and Local Practices in Benefits Outreach and Enrollment
A new training course is available on ADvancing States IQ on the role of state and local practices in benefits outreach and enrollment for older adults and individuals with disabilities. This course provides the opportunity for participants to learn about core benefit programs and challenges to accessing benefits. This course also describes sources of information trusted by older adults and persons with disabilities and identifies effective outreach strategies using those information channels. Additionally, participants will learn about state and local practices for ensuring individuals are connected to potential benefits, as well as opportunities to adjust benefits outreach and enrollment during crises and emergencies. Given the critical role of I&R/A programs in connecting individuals to benefits programs, this course may benefit any I&R/A professional.
This course is free and available to all users on ADvancing States IQ. To access the course, log in to ADvancing States IQ and search for the course Benefits Outreach and Enrollment for Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities: The Role of State and Local Organizations.
Behavioral Health Crisis Management for Older Adults Webinar Series Available on ADvancing States IQ
Strengthen Your Knowledge of Affordable Housing Programs
Strengthen your knowledge of Affordable Housing for Older Adults and People with Disabilities on ADvancing States IQ through our special housing training course developed in partnership with LeadingAge. This updated training course is designed to give an overview of the types of affordable housing that are available to older adults and people with disabilities. The course assists participants to understand differences between housing and other human services programs; understand who administers affordable housing locally and how to connect to them; and understand the basics on evictions and eviction prevention resources. The course includes several supplemental resources to provide further information on housing program basics.
This course is free and available to all users on ADvancing States IQ. To access the course, log in to ADvancing States IQ and search for the course Affordable Housing for Older Adults and People with Disabilities (under the course category Community Integration).
Conversation Tips Toolkit Supports Telephone Reassurance and Check-In Programs
Providing telephone reassurance and check-in calls is a key strategy that is being widely used across the country to address social isolation among older adults and others, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing that certain conversation skills can help to build trust and deepen engagement, ADvancing States partnered with Emergency Design Collective to create a new Conversation Tips Toolkit designed to support reassurance and check-in programs. This Toolkit is intended to benefit volunteers and staff who are participating in outreach calls with individuals receiving services. The Toolkit provides a collection of conversation tips in the areas of building trust, creating engaging conversation, understanding expectations and roles, and caring for yourself. The Toolkit is accompanied by a ‘Buzzfeed style’ quiz referencing The Golden Girls to serve as an entry point to the conversation tips. Guidance is provided in the Toolkit on how these materials can reinforce volunteer training.
To access the Toolkit and related materials, visit ADvancing States IQ. If you are new to IQ, you will simply need to create an account for yourself.
Training for I&R/A Specialists on Disability
I&R/A specialists are invited to refresh or strengthen their knowledge of serving people with disabilities through ADvancing States’ online training course, Disability for I&R Specialists. This course has been fully revised and updated, and this latest version is now available on ADvancing States IQ.
This course offers participants an overview of key issues relevant to providing information and referral/assistance (I&R/A) to individuals with disabilities. The course covers disability awareness; effective communication; services, programs, and resources; and disability rights and empowerment. It will help participants expand their understanding of disability; gain greater knowledge of disability resources, services, and support systems; strengthen awareness of resources and principles of disability rights and advocacy; and improve the quality of I&R service provision for people with disabilities. This course is free of charge. If you are new to the IQ learning center, you will need to create an account for yourself.
Resources for COVID-19 Response
ADvancing States has a section of its website dedicated to providing updated information on COVID-19. This section highlights the latest guidance from federal partners; analysis, memos, and summaries from ADvancing States; and state resources such as general information, helplines, guidance, waivers, and disaster declarations. ADvancing States will continue to update the website as new resources become available. Visit Covid-19 Resources at www.advancingstates.org/covid-19.
The Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) has Covid-19 resources on its learning center. These resources are available to any I&R program. Resources include webinars, guidance, training, and general information. Visit https://learn.airs.org/covid-19.
Monthly Technical Assistance Webinars
Click here to view recent I&R technical assistance webinars coordinated by the National I&R Support Center.